Every employer should be thinking about strategies to stay connected to your workforce. By taking opportunities to engage your employees, you help to ensure they will stay with your business for the long-term. What if you asked your employees how to make your workplace better? What if you knew what they hoped to accomplish in their work with your company? Imagine the possibilities!
You might think you are doing enough by conducting regular employee satisfaction surveys and maintaining an employee suggestion box and an open door policy. But there’s more. At your next all-staff meeting, try a group activity to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your workplace. Ask everyone to participate in a brainstorm, calling out the things they love about working for your company. Then do the same for weaknesses. What’s not working? What don’t they like?
Next, assign them to work in small groups to discuss ways they can build upon the strengths and overcome the identified weaknesses. Take a few minutes for each small group to share one or two ideas back to the large group. Gather the feedback from all the groups and use the ideas to create a workplace improvement plan. It’s a simple and effective way to hear firsthand what people like and dislike and their solutions for making it better.
By asking your top performers some key questions and using their responses to make positive changes, you just might gain their loyalty, help them feel more satisfied and keep them with your company longer. The brilliant concept of the "stay interview" may not be new, but it is intriguing. Why wait until the exit interview to learn what departing employees find frustrating about the workplace? What if you found out before they started job hunting? Then you could make changes based on their suggestions and keep them as a result.
Asking employees what will keep them with your company before they decide to leave, rather than after they have given notice, is one solution to reducing costly turnover. This win-win method of gathering employee feedback is an investment in creating a better workplace.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Be willing to invest the time required and commit to positive outcomes.
- Determine the best schedule for conducting the interviews. Start with once each year and keep the interviews separate from performance evaluations.
- Interview your top performers and those you fear losing.
- Ask great questions! Here are a few examples:
- Do you feel fully utilized in your current role? Are there ways we can better utilize your talents and interests?
- What frustrates you in your current job? What restricts productivity and creativity?
- Where do you see yourself in 2 years?
- Implement positive changes as a result of what you learn.
- Thank your employees for their participation and give them credit for their ideas when you implement them.
There’s nothing to lose by engaging and empowering your employees. Don’t underestimate the power of asking good questions and brainstorming solutions with your staff. It will boost employee morale and you will gain insights and ideas for improving your workplace.